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Deadly Nightclub Fire in Brazil; Immigration Reform

Aired January 29, 2013 - 04:00:00   ET



MATHEUS VARGAS (through translator): I was at the door of the club as soon as the fire started. I saw people shouting "Fire! Fire!" They were terrified. When I realized that there was fire, I rushed out of there.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Fire he is talking about is the one at the nightclub in Brazil over the weekend, and that last thing he said about rushing out is really important, because experts say that when a crisis happens, every second counts. When you`re in a crowded place like a club or a theater, there are some thing you can do to be ready for an emergency.


STEVE ALMASY, CNN PRODUCER/WRITER: Thanks, Carl. We talked to some fire protection and life safety experts this week after the fire in Brazil. And what they told us is, there are two things that are very important when you are going to a venue or whether it`s a public event. And that`s preparation and don`t hesitate if there`s an emergency. But another thing they told us is, before you even go, make a plan with your friends where you`re going to meet in case something happens. It might be the car, it might be a public transit stop, it might have to be some place else in case the parking lot is too busy, or you can`t get to your car because it`s blocked. So, what you do is like, say, you`re going to a movie theater or you go to a night club, identify who the workers there are, they might be wearing a particular color shirt. You might ask them where the extra exits are, or if they are unavailable to do that, then go, take a lap around, or if you`re sitting in the movie theater, look around to see where the extra exits are, because if an emergency happens, most people are going to head out the way they came in, that`s what`s familiar to them, and people tend to stick with that. If you familiarize yourself with the alternate exits, then that`s the way you`re going to go, if you can in case there`s an emergency.

Now, if you hear a fire alarm, don`t hesitate. Head for the exits. One expert told me, it`s those ten seconds that can cost you your life. So head for the door, if you can`t see, because the smoke is coming down, or it`s too sick, then feel your way forward, go in a straight line until you hit a wall. When you hit the wall, then you`re going to take your hand and you`re going to follow it around until you get to maybe a door or you get to a window.


AZUZ: Brazil is going through three days of morning for the hundreds of people killed in that night club. Police have arrested several people in connection with the fire, those people are being held temporarily, five days to start with. Authorities say they need to do that in order to get more information for their investigation.


CESAR VALDEZ, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: I went to the registering office, and they just let me know, you know, you`re undocumented, the laws have changed, you can`t register.


AZUZ: Undocumented immigrants like Cesar Valdez aren`t allowed to join the military because they are living in the U.S. illegally. Cesar isn`t alone, there are about 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. A group of senators want to give them the chance to stay here legally.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D), NEW YORK: We believe this will be the year Congress finally gets it done. The politics on this issue have been turned upside down. For the first time ever, there`s more political risk in opposing immigration reform than in supporting it.


AZUZ: That was Senator Charles Schumer. He is one of eight senators, four Democrats and four Republicans, who announced an immigration reform plan yesterday. It includes things like overhauling the country`s legal immigration system and creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Critics sometimes call that last part "amnesty". U.S. Representative Lamar Smith said it would make the situation worse.

"When you legalize those who are in the country illegally, he says, it costs taxpayers millions of dollars, costs American workers thousands of jobs and encourages more illegal immigration. By granting amnesty, the Senate proposal actually compounds the problem by encouraging more illegal immigration." We`re going to have more on this issue for you this week. The president is set to talk about it, and you can always get the latest details at

You`ve heard it over and over again, higher education can mean higher pay. Here`s proof from cnnmoney. Without a high school diploma, Americans earn an average of $478 a week. It works out to about $25,000. But if you do get your diploma, look at the jump to $647 a week, or more than $33,000 a year. Going for a bachelor`s degree, you are likely to pull down more than a thousand dollars a week, or over $55,000 a year. And a higher degree than that can spill out more than 1300 a week, or over 71,000 a year. Keep in mind, higher education doesn`t necessarily mean a four year college degree. If you go in a construction, for instance, you may need to go to trade school or get a formal apprenticeship, and you can average $740 a week or a little under $40,000 a year. Some registered nurses and dental hygienists who may have associates degrees, can earn between $65 and $70,000 a year. So the take away here, if you`re hoping to make more money, is to make sure your education doesn`t stop at high school.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s time for "The Shoutout." "Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right path, but the final forming of a person`s character lies in their own hands." Now, who said that? Was it Benjamin Franklin, Anne Frank, Mohandas Gandhi, or Justin Bieber? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Anne Frank wrote these words in her famous diary. That`s your answer and that`s your "Shoutout."


AZUZ: People showing their character is what our next two stories are about. First one, from a restaurant in Houston. This is Milo (ph). He`s five years old, and he has Down syndrome. Heno`s family went out to dinner recently. When they sat down, the family in the next booth reportedly got up and moved tables. Milo`s mom didn`t really know why, but the waiter heard the family that moved to say this.


MICHAEL GARCIA, WAITER: Special needs children need to be special somewhere else. That`s like saying you can`t come in here because you have a different skin color.


AZUZ: Saying goes that the customer is always right, but Michael Garcia decided what he heard was wrong. He stood up for Milo and refused to serve the other customers who walked out. And the owners backed up the waiter and said Michael made the right call.

These three guys are high school seniors, Zick, Jesse and Drew. They were all up for homecoming king. Jesse, the guy in the middle, won, except he didn`t. None of them did, because they al thought that Scotty, the student you see here, should get the crown. Reporter Jamey Tucker with the CNN affiliate in Tennessee tells you what happened.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scott is loved by everyone in school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Scott will make a gloomy day bright.

JAMEY TUCKER, WHNT TV CORRESPONDENT: Scottie Maloney, a high school junior, Community High in Unionville, born with William`s Syndrome, a neurological disorder that inhibits speech and learning, but often, and in Scottie`s case, makes people who have it, abundantly friendly and happy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a star of this school. A lot of us look up to him.

TUCKER: Seniors Zig Grissam (ph), Drew Gibbs and Jesse Cooper were nominees for the school`s homecoming king. But before the votes were counted, they came up with an unselfish idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is always happy. So he deserves some recognition for who he is.

TUCKER: With the entire school and most of the community watching Scottie was named homecoming king.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve seen (inaudible) before, but I didn`t think it could quite drop (ph) that much.

TUCKER: And for the next 30 seconds, the crowd gave Scottie a standing ovation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a ton of emotion just from everybody. I think I saw Scottie show a few tears, you know, Jesse was pretty emotional. I mean we`re all emotional out there on the court.

TUCKER (on camera): It means an awful lot to you, brother.


TUCKER: Scottie hasn`t taken his medal from around his neck, and may not, for a long time. Homecoming king is a high point in one senior year, but really, who remembers after a few years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn`t wear it to school every day, I would put it on my shelf and say, I got that, thanks, everybody, for voting for me. And him, he`s so passionate about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, every time we get together, hey, you remember when Scottie won a homecoming king, and we always look back and cherish that.

MALONEY: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re welcome, Scottie.


AZUZ: Well, whether it`s Michael Garcia standing up for Milo, or those seniors giving Scottie the memory of a lifetime, people put character on display all the time. Have you stood up for someone? Do you know someone who has? Go to our blog at, talk to us about your story.

Which came first - the chicken or the egg? This Youtube video just doesn`t help clear things up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s (inaudible) of a normal one, not (inaudible), is the one that has come out more chicken. It`s nearly - nearly ten inches round.






AZUZ: An egg inside of an egg - scramble your brain. If you want to eggsplain that mystery, you just have to crack the case. But in the end, the yokes on you, because it`s all just a show game. For CNN STUDENT NEWS, I`m Carl Azuz. We`ll see you tomorrow.